PORTLAND Some local brewmasters took a walk along Wildwood Trail in Forest Park and came out with some ingredients to add to their beers.

Three brewers took part in a project designed to challenge beer makers to try wild ingredients they may not have known were free for the picking.

It gets you to think a little bit more locally, a little bit more about the place, a little bit more about where you live and what s around you, said Eric Steen, who started the project Beer made by Walking.

Matt Wagoner of Forest Park Nature Conservancy is an expert on what grows along the trail and led the walk. Brewers discovered wild ginger, vanilla leaf, elderberries and red huckleberries. One brewer used spruce.

It is illegal to forage in city parks, but brewers got special approval to take just a little for the project. Wagoner says the same edible items can be found in other natural setting where it is legal to forage.

Being able to connect people with nature in different ways is really important and in Portland. You ve got to get creative, and people do love their beer, said Wagoner.

Brewmaster Elan Walsky of Coalition Brewing made a Saison-style beer with wild ginger and red huckleberries. He was pretty pleased with the way it turned out.

The ginger comes through pretty noticeably on the nose and just a little bit on the back of the palette. The red huckleberry didn t present as forward as I thought it would, said Walsky.

The beers were tasted this week at Belmont Station as part of the Portland Beer Week festival.

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